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Ohio State and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad month of January

The first month of 2023 was definitely one that the Ohio State athletic department would love to forget.

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Ohio State v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

It seems like at the end of every calendar year people say, “Good riddance to this year! Next year is going to be our year!” I’m always skeptical when I hear things like that. Then again, I’m just a curmudgeon.

Just because the year changes then everything else is supposed to magically get better? I’m sorry, but I know things don’t work that way. It’s probably not healthy to have such a pessimistic view, but at least I’m setting the bar low so the inevitable disappointment doesn’t hurt so much.

Even with expecting the worst, I still wasn’t prepared for just how dreadful the month of January was for Ohio State. Even though there was a couple bright spots, the month as a whole was terrible from the first few minutes of 2023. Honestly, I’m in awe of just how bad the month was, so I had to put it in writing just to marvel at how much of a trainwreck it has been.

Jan. 1

Ohio State loses 42-41 to Georgia in College Football Playoff Semifinal

Even though pretty much the whole game took place in 2022, the only part that truly matters took part in 2023. Ohio State led 38-24 heading into the fourth quarter, and the Buckeyes couldn’t make the lead stick. Georgia took the lead with just under a minute left in the game when Adonai Mitchell caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Stetson Bennett.

What makes the loss even more infuriating is Ryan Day thought it was a smart decision to settle for a 50-yard field goal. C.J. Stroud ran 27 yards down to Georgia’s 31 with 28 seconds left on the clock. The Buckeyes didn’t gain another yard after that over the next three plays. Noah Ruggles would go on to miss the possible game-winning field goal badly. It’s hard to blame Ruggles though, since Day put his kicker in a really tough position.

Ohio State men’s basketball defeats Northwestern 73-57

After a rough start to the new year of the athletic department, the Buckeyes didn’t have to wait too long to pick up a win. Ohio State earned a 73-57 win in Evanston on New Year’s Day evening. The Buckeyes weren’t threatened in the game, leading by double digits for pretty much the whole contest. The victory looks a lot better now than it did a month ago since Northwestern has been playing really well this year.

Jan. 5

Ohio State men’s basketball loses to Purdue 71-69

Ohio State hosted the top team in the country a few days later. Even though the Buckeyes suffered a big loss just a few minutes into the game when Zed Key sustained a shoulder injury, his teammates were able to build double-digit leads over the Boilermakers a couple times in the first half before Purdue closed the gap to 36-33 at halftime.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair with a number of ties and lead changes. The Boilermakers took the lead for good when Fletcher Loyer hit a three-pointer with 12 seconds left to give Purdue a 71-69 edge. Ohio State wasn’t able to do anything with their last possession, falling just short of pulling the upset. The Buckeyes did a pretty good job at holding Zach Edey in checking, only allowing the giant to score 16 points and grab 11 rebounds.

Jan. 8

Ohio State men’s basketball loses at Maryland 80-69

Even if Ohio State had beaten Purdue a few nights before, it was going to be tough for the Buckeyes to win a tough road test at Maryland. The task increased in difficulty without Zed Key available because of the shoulder injury he suffered against Purdue. Even without Key, Ohio State held a 39-34 lead at halftime.

The Buckeyes couldn’t make the lead stick, as Maryland opened up the second half with a 14-0 run. Ohio State would cut the lead of the Terrapins down to three points on a couple occasions, but they weren’t able to take the lead back. Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing did all they could, with each player scoring over 20 points. The duo didn’t get much help, as no other Buckeye scored more than eight points in the loss.

Jan. 12

Ohio State men’s basketball loses to Minnesota 70-67

On a two-game losing streak entering the game, this looked like an opportunity to get back on the winning track. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes came out of the gates sleepy, with Minnesota opening up a nine-point lead in the first half. Ohio State would at least start to right the ship a bit, heading into halftime trailing the Golden Gophers by just two points.

The momentum from the end of the first half wouldn’t carry over to the second half, as Minnesota led by as many as 11 points with just over five minutes left in the game. The Buckeyes would fight back to tie the game with eight seconds left when Brice Sensabaugh hit two free throws. The Golden Gophers would benefit from a foul that was later deemed by the conference as one that shouldn’t have been called.

Minnesota would go on to win 70-67, earning their first Big Ten win this season.

Jan. 15

Ohio State men’s basketball loses 68-64 in overtime at Rutgers

These two teams met in December in Columbus, with Ohio State winning 67-66 thanks to a buzzer beater by Tanner Holden. This contest in New Jersey was as close as expected.

Much like the first meeting between the schools, most of the second half was a one-possession game. After Sensabaugh tied the game at 57 with 49 seconds left, he wasn’t able to snap Ohio State’s losing streak, missing a three-pointer with two seconds to go in regulation.

Ohio State v Rutgers Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The Buckeyes ran out of steam in overtime, with Rutgers taking the lead for good with 1:34 left. The Scarlet Knights went on a 7-0 run after Ohio State took a 61-60 lead to secure the victory. Even though the loss was tough to swallow, the Buckeyes did get some good news with Zed Key being available to play in the game. Key came off the bench to play 28 minutes, nearly notching a double-double in the contest, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Jan. 16

C.J. Stroud declares for the 2023 NFL Draft

Even though it seemed like only a matter of time before the Ohio State quarterback declared for the NFL Draft, there was some optimism creeping in that Stroud would return to the Columbus as the deadline to declare got closer. The possibility of Stroud coming back for another season gained traction when there was a tweet from a noted NIL grifter.

It turns out the “big news” was a stupid gender reveal. I have plenty more I could say on how bad it was, but I’ll be the bigger man. Even right there I had to check myself so I didn’t make a short joke.

Jan. 18

Ohio State men’s basketball loses 63-60 at Nebraska

Even though there is no such thing as an easy win on the road in the Big Ten, this is a game that Ohio State really should win. With Zed Key at less than 100 percent or not, the Buckeyes have more talent than the Cornhuskers.

Ohio State was dreadful from the field, shooting just 35.7 percent. While I’m not sure whether this loss or the setback against Minnesota was more devastating, this feels like I really started to realize Chris Holtmann isn’t the right guy at head coach for the Buckeyes.

Jan. 21

Ohio State men’s basketball beats Iowa 93-77

I guess even a broken team is right twice a month. Sensabaugh was outstanding, going 10-for-12 from the field and finishing with a team-high 27 points. Issac Likekele had his best game as a Buckeye, scoring 18 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists. The win at least gave Ohio State a little bit of confidence heading into two tough road contests.

Jan. 23

Ohio State women’s basketball loses to Iowa 83-72

Iowa v Ohio State Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

After starting the season 19-0, the second-ranked team in the country suffered their first loss of the season, losing to Iowa 83-72. The teams headed into the fourth quarter with Iowa holding a 56-54. Unfortunately, Ohio State didn’t have an answer for Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes.

Clark finished with a triple-double in the game, scoring 28 points, registering 15 assists, and pulling down 10 rebounds.

Jan. 24

Ohio State men’s basketball loses 69-60 at Illinois

So much for the men’s team being able to build off the win over Iowa a few days before.

Ohio State showed little life in the loss to the Fighting Illini. The Buckeyes were dominated in all facets of the game. The biggest discrepancy was on the glass, with Illinois outrebounding Ohio State 44-30. While it’s never easy to win in Champaign, it would have been nice to see a little more effort and urgency from the Buckeyes.

Jan. 26

Ohio State women’s basketball loses at Indiana 78-65

Things looked good for the Buckeyes getting back on the winning track early on, as Ohio State went into halftime with a 36-32 lead in Bloomington. Then the third quarter happened.

The Hoosiers dominated the Buckeyes 27-6 in the quarter following halftime. The poor performance in the quarter was even tougher to swallow considering how well Ohio State played in the other three quarters. The loss allowed Indiana to jump the Buckeyes in the conference standings.

Jan. 28

Ohio State men’s basketball loses at Indiana 86-70

For as bad as the game at Illinois was a few days prior, the performance from Ohio State was even worse on Saturday night at Assembly Hall. The Buckeyes allowed the Hoosiers to open up a 46-30 lead at halftime, and they weren’t able to cut into the deficit in the second half.

While Trayce Jackson-Davis came into the game with all the headlines, freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino did Ohio State in, hitting six three-pointers in the first half.

Ohio State v Indiana Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

With the loss, Ohio State finished the month with a 2-7 record, and currently has an 11-10 record on the season with a 3-7 record in the Big Ten. Unless the Buckeyes put together a serious run in February and early March, it doesn’t look like Ohio State will be making the NCAA Tournament this year.

Jan. 29

Ohio State women’s basketball loses 73-65 to Purdue

The first two losses of the season by the Ohio State women’s basketball team were understandable because of the quality of competition they played. The loss to the Boilermakers on Sunday in Columbus was a lot more puzzling.

The Buckeyes fell behind 27-13 in the first quarter, and they weren’t able to make up the ground, falling 73-65 to Purdue. The third consecutive loss by Ohio State dropped them to 10th in the latest rankings that were released on Monday.